A picnic in the valley


It was difficult to choose. 


I leave THE IROULEGUY WINE CELLAR in Saint-Etienne-de-Baigorry where I have just bought a few bottles of rosé wine after their expert guidance. Martine, Eki et Peio took great care in presenting all the characteristics of the wines in relation to what I wished to taste.


So here I am, equipped with the "Kattalingorri", the red ladybird, an organic rosé wine, with a beautiful ruby colour. Supple with a real aromatic freshness, it is velvety with a dash of well-balanced acidity. It has a beautiful balance which reminds me of the Arlequin (acidic, fruity boiled) sweets from my childhood.


 A few bottles of "Mignaberry" and my choice is complete. It is a dry rosé, with a bright salmon colour. Tender and gourmet, with a hint of fruit joining flower. It is a wine with a beautiful depth.


I’m already looking forward to it!


However, time is running out, they are already waiting for me and I still have a few food provisions to buy to make everything perfect.


Whilst in Saint-Etienne-de-Baïgorry, I take the opportunity to buy some sweet treats at LAIA, the homemade chocolate shop. Olivier Casenave works with the cocoa bean in a way that makes it divine and gourmet. I know that he always puts quality above quantity. I am never disappointed and those with a sweet tooth are delighted. What better way to polish off a delicious meal than with a box of chocolate pralines and truffles, which I have to admit are my favourites.


Then, I hit the road. I need to go to Macaye in the North. The journey is magnificent in this weather. It’s a real pleasure to go the ONETIK cheese shop. Located in the heart of the milking zone for the sheep, cows and goats, their traditional expertise means that I will have delicious, flavorsome and matured cheeses. I have my heart set on a beautiful tomme of sheep cheese after hesitating for a long time... and after tasting it.


On the way back, I stop for a little while in Osses at the ancestral farm ARNABAR.


Situated between Baigorri and Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, it is renowned for its traditional work which is transferred from generation to generation. I buy some flavorsome and refined foie gras, a beautiful duck confit and of course some axoa (Basque veal stew). I add in some Txomin paté made with Manex pork. It is very spicy and I can never resist.


Finally, I go to Banca. Michel Goicoechea and his family run the aquaculture farm BANKA.


Built by intuition and supplied by the Arpéa source since the XVII century, it produces the best trout in the region. It is a trout with lean flesh, the fruit of a family’s passion and of their close family and friends, always there to help. For the fish lovers, I have stocked up on smoked trout, and trout rillettes that we will eat on some good fresh bread.


Oh bother, the bread. I’ve forgotten to get some.


I quickly return to Baigorri to the Ramuntxo IRASTORZA bakery, bakers for 3 generations, who won the prize for the best baguette in the Basque Country. I buy a few crusty, flavorsome baguettes.


It’s all fixed now.


I finally arrive in Irouléguy, almost on time.


I climb the dirt path and see appearing in front of me the Irouléguy vines baked in the sun.


This place has always made my heart beat, a little bit faster.


I find them. They are all there. They are waiting for me, sat on the low wall of the XII century chapel, overlooking the valley.


The welcome is warm, as always. It’s now time to share this moment together. A wonderful moment to share. A perfect moment.

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